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Lebanese banks in Syria post 591% surge in H1 net income

The seven Lebanese banks operating in Syria have reported a 591% rise in combined net profit to 13.1bn Syrian pounds, but experts dismissed the rise as merely due to valuation of foreign currencies to the pound, The Daily Star has reported. The surge in net income is chiefly due to sharp increases in unrealised net foreign exchange gains from 3.7bn Syrian pounds in the first half of 2012 to 31.4bn in same period in 2013, according to data by Byblos Bank. "There is no actual improvement and the only reason that there is such an increase in profits is the fluctuation of foreign exchange rates and the fact that these banks report their profits in Syrian pounds," said chief economist at Byblos Bank, Nassib Ghobril.